Tea and Health – Nootropics
Substances Used to Enhance Memory or Other Cognitive Functions.
Colloquially, many accept that the term nootropic refers to a substance used to enhance memory or other cognitive functions, including facilitating learning in a healthy brain. In the 1970s, Romanian scientist, Dr. Conreliu E. Giurgea, coined the term nootropic with a specific set of criteria.
1. Enhances memory and ability to learn.
2. Helps the brain function under disruptive conditions.
3. Protects brain cells from chemical and physical assaults.
4. Increases the efficacy of cell-to-cell communication in the brain.
5. Possesses few or no side effects.
Nootopics in Tea & Botanicals
A few substances commonly found in tea & botanicals could be considered nootropics by the basic definition, rather than the elevated criteria include: L-theanine, anthocyanins, GABA, theobromine, ashwagandha, rosemary, ginseng, and valerian root.
Matcha has long be touted as a nootropic substance, as it is often higher in L-theanine than other types of tea. L-theanine is thought to raise Alpha brain waves to promote relaxation and productivity. Studies have noted L-theanine supports mental function during aging. Butterfly Pea Flower has significant amounts of anthocyanins with potential benefits with supporting learning and memory.
GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) is an amino acid and neurotransmitter, and it is naturally produced by the brain. GABA is the brain’s primary inhibitory transmitter and keeps glutamate, the primary excitatory transmitter, from overwhelming you. Essentially, GABA keeps you from becoming overwhelmed by stress. In certain studies, it has shown potential to balance mood, aid in addiction recovery, and reduce anxiety.
Theobromine found in cocoa nibs & guayusa is thought to regulate mood and have energizing effects with fewer side effects than caffeine. Ashwagandha is used commonly in Ayurveda practices and is thought to provide mental energy. It is colloquially considered to be an adaptogen, promotes a positive mood, and may help with the aging brain.
Rosemary is thought to sharpen focus, and its circulatory regulation aids in blood flow to the brain. Ginseng is one of the 5 scientifically recognized adaptogens that supports brain chemicals and alleviates stress. It is said to provide mental energy and support physical performance. Valerian supports the brain’s GABA levels to aid in relaxation and therefore, sleep.
Notable Nootropic Tea
More About Tea and Health
Camellia sinensis (the tea plant) contains antioxidants in the form of tea polyphenols and catechins. Some polyphenols and catechins are known to lower inflammation, reduce blood sugar and cholesterol as well as support arterial wall health. There have been some studies that suggest that some polyphenols slow the loss of bone density as well.
An adaptogen is an herb or plant which aids in the body’s resistance to stressors. Adaptogens are typically used to aid in relieving stress-induced fatigue, mental illness, and behavioral disorders.
Turmeric and Ginger are both used traditional anti-inflammatory tonics. The flavors blend well together and both contain compounds known to be anti-inflammatory.